In one of the last Babylon 5 episodes, you see a tight community of Catholic priests housed in a secluded building somewhere on earth in the year 3000. They are the keepers of all the old records. Records of the numerous wars throughout all of history, especially the Shadow War in the 2200’s, and the commander of Babylon 5 (250,000-person space station light years from earth) and his actions that led him to direct the entire galaxy’s outcome. But Catholics were the last remaining humans in 3000 AD before the Final Coming.
You hear constantly about child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church. Any sexual abuse is unbelievably evil, and almost incomprehensible. But the media implies only the Catholic Church is involved. How many times have the media taken the Catholic Church to task for pedophilia? For how many adults does the Catholic Church immediately come to mind when the subject of child abuse is brought up?
The first error is that ‘pedophilia’ is typically used for accusations of Catholic clerics. In fact, ephebophelia (homosexuals and very young men) is the actual terminology. Crossland Foundation :: Catholic Scandals: A Crisis for Celibacy …states true pedophilia is extremely rare and is perhaps more common among Protestant clergy than Catholic priests. It says it is even more common among married laymen.
Illicit sexual relations with minors has always existed with the general populace as a whole, the non-Catholic clergy, and the Catholic clergy itself. What are new, is elites and most media sources began to socially construct the problem of Catholic priest sexual abuse by 1985. Again, this is not said to exculpate the guilty. And Catholic clergy had some that were just as guilty as the rest. But it’s obvious that by 1985, and is true today, the media has their way with discrediting only the Catholic Church.
For illicit clergy abuse, William Donohue takes a close look at Philip Jenkins’ thought provoking book in Review: Pedophiles and Priests. Jenkins is an excellent source because of his extensive study of religious sexual abuse for over 20 years. There is a huge difference between Catholic and Protestant clergy mostly due to reporting problems. There is no counterpart for Protestant clergy to the highly centralized data keeping done by the Catholic Church. Once the issue was framed as a “celibacy problem”, it was more difficult for media to assert the problem was larger among the non-celibate Protestant clergy. Hence the second error–celibacy causes abuse.
As Leon Podles asks in Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Just a Catholic Problem?, it brings up numerous cases, and it’s easy to see the third error. Why is the media so happy to concentrate on rumors about the Catholic Faith?
An extensive 2007 investigation by the AP showed sexual abuse of children in U.S. schools was extensive, and most of it was never reported. This investigation found at least 2,500 cases in 5 years where they were punished for sexual abuse of children. But the AP also found a deeply entrenched resistance towards recognizing and fighting abuse. Few understand how deeply ingrained public education is in the national psyche. Despite the vast majority of excellent educators in the school system, they seem to have the largest number of offenders.
Insurance officials had told AP all churches are doing more to prevent child sexual abuse, such as requiring at least two adults in a room with a child, windows in classrooms, and background checks (more than 24,700 checks upon Catholic clergy and teachers alone). Until the AP report, most comprehensive studies were done only on the Catholic Church. Information on school teachers, social workers, counselors, and even scoutmasters was not known before because they usually had no method for accounting for sexual abuse.
Lately those only worried about Catholic abuse don’t see the forest though the trees. Even before 2001, Pope Benedict XVI was a stalwart voice within the Church to address the problem of sexual abuse, and to remove any guilty priests. People forget the zero-tolerance policy the Church has towards offenders.
One would think the devil would concentrate his efforts on the most correct way of avoiding abuse. Catholics fit that bill, so they get most of the devil’s attention. And one would also know that the devil, of all entities, would know God actually exists.
Most are also aware of the biblical quote that says “Do not chastise one for the splinter in his own eye, when there is a log in yours.”
The devil is likely laughing out loud at the culpability of that quote alone.
Kevin Roeten can be reached at [email protected]